Sunday, February 22, 2015

Roller Skating: A Metaphor for My Entrepreneurial Life.

I just awoke from an intense dream about roller skating. It was quite odd being that I haven't roller skated in years, probably not since I was a little girl going to the roller rink for birthday parties. I don't usually remember my dreams either, because I generally wake up somewhat stressed out about stuff I need to do that wasn't at the forefront of my mind the day prior. Perhaps I remembered this dream because my Dad crashed at my place last night and I felt a sense of comfort with him there being that I'm in my new home for my six week stay up here in SF. I feel compelled to blog about it because it really does say a lot about me and where I'm at in my life.

Here is the dream:

I'm roller skating with a big group of people but at first I'm very afraid. I know that an obstacle "competition" of sorts is coming up and I know it involves big hills. I've never skated down a big hill and the thought terrifies me. However, once the day comes up I decide to go with everyone anyways. I'm skating along and the big hill comes up. Even though I'm terrified to go down it, I decide to try it anyways. (I was afraid to do it on a bike, and I realized it's fun) I get in a somewhat skaters squat position and then start gliding down the hill with the wind softly blowing through my hair and perfectly warm air on my face. It feels amazing. I'm also in the lead. Even as I'm gliding down the hill, I'm thinking to myself that I'm still a bit scared or that I "should" be extremely scared, but how totally awesome it feels to do it anyways. In fact I love it. I'm feeling extremely proud of myself for conquering a fear, and realizing that I can do scary things - and that they might actually be things that I will end up loving. Another part of the obstacle comes up which is a big twisty slide that drops you into the ocean and then back onto the path - the thought of this again seems terrifying. Since I'm on a "roll"(I couldn't help myself with that pun joke), I decide to go down the slide. However, halfway down I realize that I'm way too afraid to plunge into the deep dark possibly even rockied waters (might there even be big waves crashing, and will I drown?) so I majorly freak out and safely get myself back to the shore where I chicken out from the rest of the competition. The shore feels safe, but I want more. I want to go the rest of the way and feel that wind brushing through my hair again and to show the rest of the group that I can keep up or even do it better. But I can't get past the thought of having to plunge into the deep dark abyss not knowing if I will survive. I do feel pretty bad about the whole thing. I'm still considering what I should do when a guy and his friend come up to the shore (they showed up late for the competition, and somehow the shore is back at the beginning of the course). They talk to me for a second and I explain that I don't want to go further. One of the guys (he just happens to work with me at my coworking space in real life and in the dream) offers to opt out of the competition altogether seeming to be above the whole thing anyways, and says he will walk me back to my room with his friend. On the walk back, he holds my hand, which throws me off. Yet I think he is really attractive and have always wondered about him, so I go with it. In fact I try and show my added interest by rearranging our hand holding position to something more solid. I feel butterflies and start to leave my worries about the slide and the deep dark ocean behind. It feels safe to me. It feels like something familiar. I sort of feel like I'm settling by not finishing the course, but it takes my mind away from my fears and what I left behind. I wonder if I'm ok with that. I'm not sure that I am. But I try and push past my feelings of loss by focusing on this budding new thing with a guy I feel a sense of comfort with. When I get back to my room I realize that I had videotaped (on my iphone) the whole rollerskating bit of me gliding down the hill and then freaking out down the slide. Even though I don't like thinking about the deep dark water, I decide to watch the video and feel a strange comfort in knowing that I can watch it over and over to critique myself and decide how to do it better next time. Although when the part comes up of myself going down the slide in those skates, it makes me feel really uncomfortable watching myself totally 100% freak out with a look of pure terror on my face and body language going down that slide. I wonder if it seems a little over the top and see that it might be a bit of a silly reaction.

So what does that mean? Well, it definitely symbolizes life. It was incredibly detailed with my thoughts and feelings throughout the entirety of the dream. One thing is for sure, the timing of the dream couldn't be more perfect. I'm about to start a 4-week accelerator program for my startup that I quit my day job and moved up to SF for (for 6 weeks). I'm literally taking the plunge for my startup baby, and there is a lot of uncertainty involved. The accelerator starts tomorrow morning, and it feels like the first day of school all over again. Except this time it's for this vision that I've turned into a reality with a strong team backing it. Yet I'm ultimately the one in control of it's fate and they are counting on me to make it big.
During my stay here so far, I've reconnected with a guy that I feel very safe with and that I've known for a long time - since we met in college. It feels really good being around him, almost enough where I could just do that. However, the thought of blowing off my startup to hangout with him feels awful. I want to spend time with him and see if we could make it work, but I have to keep reminding myself that I'm up here for the startup and that's definitely a major distraction that I'm now realizing is a test from the universe (thank you dream). The times I have taken long breaks from my startup to hang out with him, I end up feeling worse, like a zombie, because I'm not keeping my eye on the prize. This seems a bit overboard being that CEOs of startups should be allowed to date too...but maybe I need to just do me until I get the company where I envision it going. But it definitely feels safe being with him. And yes, he is a distraction for my brain. First realization: distracting myself with a guy might feel nice but I will ultimately regret not putting my all into what I need to do to be successful. 
The dream also symbolizes my life in general. I've become a lot more confident since embarking on this startup voyage. I've realized that even though the thought of public speaking scares me, once I'm up there talking about my startup, I absolutely love it. I love being in front of people, and I love showing my passion for my company. I now almost crave public speaking, which I never thought I could ever feel. So that's like going down the big scary hill on skates perfecting my stance (perfecting my pitch) and realizing I love it. 
However, parts of the startup world still scare me. There is a lot of uncertainty. Sometimes I wonder if it's real or if it's all been a dream. Will I wake up and realize that my startup was just a figment of my imagination? Would I feel safe with that or would I hate that because I have to go back to working a day job I dread and never really knowing what true happiness feels like? I know it would be the latter. So that's why some of my procrastinations are not paying off. As well as taking breaks to do nothing with someone that gives me butterflies. It's not getting me closer to my goal. Although this is not healthy. I need to find a good balance of work and play. But I need to work harder and get focused on the things that are most difficult and then add a window of play. I should really take my Dad's advice here with knocking out the things that seem most difficult in the morning and then I can have a window of play in the evening.

So yea, the dream actually really helped me and that help was free. I guess I'm a little nervous for "my first day of school" tomorrow, because I don't know if it will really help or if I came up here for nothing, or if it will tremendously help things move forward. I just don't know - it's uncertain at this point. But I will find out and make the best of it. That, I know I can do really well.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Taking the Plunge with Neqtr.

I quit my day job, and I’m embarking on an adventure. I’m not sure what is in store or what to expect, but I’m taking the plunge. I feel good about it, albeit a bit nervous. I started my day out today pitching my “baby” for a room of 50, meeting with a new advisor, and now on the plane heading to my new home for 6 weeks.

I’ve never been like everyone else. I stood out from the crowd and always dared to be different, whether it came in my fashion sense, blunt tongue, personal choices, or upbringing even. I’m not the timid little mouse most guys want in a girl, in fact many of them simply can’t deal with me. Many say they are intimidated of me, which is both a compliment and an insult. My parents know I’m feisty as all hell, but in that they can see my determination. I don’t back down easily, and I hate giving up. I also don’t like failing, but I know that I’ve learned some of my greatest lessons in my failures to date. One of the biggest recent takeaways is that I just need to do me for a while, because doing me brings success. Trying to be like everyone else and letting others hold me back wasn’t getting me anywhere good. Going along as a sheep and doing what everyone else was doing was also sure as hell not making me happy, so I abandoned all that BS to own my shit and as my cousin and I say, “be my own unicorn.”

I’m now the brainchild behind Neqtr, which is a philanthropic dating app. I’m incredibly passionate about it because it won’t only help a lot of people, start a movement of likeminded badass QUALITY folks, and help nonprofits make a bigger impact in each community, it will also disrupt the current dating model.

I like disrupting trends that I think could be a lot better. For example, in high school I stepped into a small town school decked out in my punk rock threads which included bright pink fuzzy leopard pants and studs, and started an all girl punk band. I also joined an all male hand drumming group, because why the fuck not? Then I thought, why stop there? I also want to be a cheerleader and I’m not going to choose between the cliques. I’m going to do both. So I did. Pink hair and all, playing punk shows at divey venues after football games. This step helped my creative brainy music skater friends become friends with my cheer friends, and they are still friends to this day. I ended up not liking the whole cheer thing, but hey I tried it because I wanted to. Fuck limiting beliefs, you can do it all.

Now, apparently it’s very hard for women in the tech world. Another part of the system that I think could be majorly improved. Word on the street is that us gals get less respect and there are these glass ceilings that make it difficult to succeed. Ya know what I think about that? You guessed it, I don’t give a fuck. I’m going to do it anyways, because Neqtr has real potential and I’m not going to “let the man get me down.” In fact, I find hustling is the best tactic, because at the end of the day, I’m hustling for good to help a lot of people.

It’s also a common theme that I walk into tech networking events, and I’m in the 2% of females in the room. I like to be fashionable and make a statement, and I refuse to dress like a man to get the respect of a man. And, yea, I’ve received many back handed compliments that went about like this… “Wow you’re not only really beautiful, but, wow, you’re also really intelligent.” Well no fucking shit. I know crazy, girls having beauty AND brains. We exist. Then these guys suddenly want to meet to “talk business” aka see if they have a chance to hookup with me. All the while being oblivious in the fact that I’m starting a dating app that goes against the hookup model to help people meet quality partners in quality environments right? Why the hell would I want to have a casual hookup with you? It’s funny, it really is. Dark comedy some days, other days I just laugh. I’m learning to slowly but surely put my foot in my mouth and not take things so personally or react. I plan on mastering this skill, at least in business.

But no, not all guys are like this. Lately I’ve been meeting some gems. The more I get out there and present, the more I meet men that are feminists even if they would never admit that. It’s hot, and I appreciate that kind of support and guidance.

I’ve also come to realize lately that I actually love presenting about Neqtr. I finally found something I really want to talk about, in fact, I’d love to scream it from the roof tops. People respond well, and want to get on board. Cool, don’t mind if you do.

As I mentioned above, I’m embarking on an adventure to SF and will document my trip both through blogging and vlogging. I want others to know they can do this too and how effin worth it is. Go be your own unicorn. Go live a little. And change the world.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

I Turned Down a VH1 Reality Show to Save the World.

Ya know those times you down a VH1 reality show?

Yea, I didn't know what that was like either, until it happened this week.

It sounded quite intriguing, and yes getting the offer to be on it was pretty cool. However, it just was the like the worst possible timing ever. Plus after reading through the 33 page contract, I realized that the HUGE MASSIVE RISK TO MY PERSONAL BRAND was not quite worth it right around the launch of my new startup. Plus can the CEO of her startup, really just bail for 30 days to do a VH1 reality show? Not so much. If I had received this offer even a year ago, I would've considered it. I mean why not right? It also overlapped to an effin' T this tech accelerator program my company got into in SF. Like literally, to the T. Down to the final meeting with the casting director at the same time as my flight to SF departing.

....tricky timing universe. Testing me much?

I tried to keep this enticing opportunity on the DL for a couple of weeks, however, once I received the final paperwork I brought it up to a couple of folks. The resulting response was that it was totally rad, however, it could majorly tarnish my image and possibly even hurt my new app. Why? Because my app helps people fall in love while saving the world. This show could make me look like a total shmuck+bitch+idiot+the list goes on and on, and not like the humanitarian I really am. They spell out how they are allowed to portray you however best they see fit. Plus the cast of characters on previous seasons were a little...different from myself. Conflicts could possibly arise. I'm not going to lie, I don't always keep my mouth shut, so from above, total bitch could be my new portrait.

So I turned it down. I'd rather make and keep awesome partnerships with nonprofits in each city, then burn bridges.

But hey, it's pretty cool to be in communication with VH1 right? I can check that off my bucket list...even though that wasn't on it.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Only Type of Love I Think I Know.

I've never had the type of love story I've heard about, or yet dreamt about. I've had versions that I hoped would come close, but they have ended, and almost forgotten. I haven't had models that had that "perfect" love story either, and don't quite know how real "perfect" love is. But I want to experience it.
My mediocre love stories have had some beautiful qualities, some failed feelings, and some with easier ends (that still hurt), and some with tragic ends never to be spoken about again. Maybe parts of those endings are my fault, and have helped me learn important lessons about how the world works with their inequalities and all.
I've since decided to create a company surrounded around helping others experience aspects of love story love without even realizing it. I have a giving heart in this way, but my heart longs to experience this as well. I don't even know if it's real, but I do know that movies with intense love make me ball my eyes out like a teenage girl.
I don't know what "true love" looks like, and I don't know if "true love" is an actual thing outside of Disney movies. But I want it. I want to taste it, and feel it, even for just a second so I know that it's a thing I can experience in my life. I've seen other friends experience the type of love they can rejoice in with their partner feeling the same way. It's refreshing. Perhaps this is this thing called "true love" or "perfect" even if it comes with flaws - I mean what doesn't?
I know true love does exist in family, and I'm so very grateful for my family. They are the best, and I care about them immensely. They are my rock. Deep love also extends to pets who are our companions, and are they for us when we need them - instead of always being the other way around.
But no, I haven't yet gotten the pleasure to experience love story love that I think I know. I've had versions, and I truly appreciate those versions as they have shaped me into who I am today. Hopefully I can help others in this way, and feel that refreshing feeling more often.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Walking Away.

"It's so hard to do and so easy to say, but sometimes, sometimes you just have to walk away." - Ben Harper

That song is generally pretty depressing to listen to, but I've realized it's so true. I can resonate with every single line in it, because it's how I feel - it fits my past relationship perfectly. A one-sided love story without trust or respect. How a person could make me feel so unimportant I do not know. How I could let a person make me feel so unimportant so many times, I also do not know. It's mind boggling. For a girl that is a make-shit-happen, strong-willed, direct, passionate, magnetic, and deeply caring just doesn't make sense. Lets face it: "sometimes, sometimes you just have to walk away and head for the door." You have to stop trying. Sometimes you have to realize that waiting is getting old, and that you're fighting for something that is never going to turn out the way you hope it would.  I tried everything I could, everything I had learned, I tried fighting the good fight to make things better, and nothing worked. I really can't change people. If I meet someone that has obvious red flags, they aren't going to change.

What did I learn from this failed relationship? People don't change. People don't want to change. They might try for you, but they are lying to themselves and lying to you. They will then resent you for it. Especially about really big issues that are deal-breakers. If the person loves doing those deal-breakers, then you have to leave. It seems like simple logic, but it really is so hard to do once you're "in it" with a partner. I eventually realized that I'd rather be single then deal with another person's BS any longer. I know I do a lot of awesome things, and I'm able to help a lot of people. That's great, but I really needed to help myself.

I'm not saying this person never helped me with anything, and that there weren't any good times. There definitely were. But the cons majorly outweighed the pros. Like I said, some of those pros were so nice though. They made it hard for me to make this final decision. I let myself be vulnerable with this person, and it didn't pan out. I considered him to be my go-to; my "best friend". However, I definitely wouldn't treat a best friend or even just a friend with that type of disrespect. But all of that is ok I guess. I just had to realize that it wasn't working anymore.

It's sad to think another person who I spent another chunk of my life with is just gone, but it is this way it is for a reason. I'm so effin' sick of wondering, so sick of feeling unimportant, so sick of being jaded and not being able to trust that someone will do the right thing and consider my feelings. He just didn't have the capacity to do so.

When I look back now, I feel relieved. It's so not worth being miserable to keep someone in your life. If it's not great, then it's not good enough.

I'm ready for a clean slate.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Doing A 180 In A Years Time.

So I hate to admit this, but I'm about to hit a rather big milestone in my years on this planet. And yes, the name of my blog will have to change to reflect the change...unless I want to lie to myself and others for the next five years. We will see. Regardless it is coming if I like it or not. I think I'm ok with it for the most part. Things aren't perfect, but sure have they changed over the course of one year. My life will be much different going into this new set of years.

Below are a couple of things that have happened over the last year:

First of all, I started a tech startup and am building out an app with a team of developers I rounded up using merely my sheer vision and passion as a cattle driver. We are a few months away from launch, and I'm busy beyond belief. But it's a really good busy, because I'm inspired by it. I'm also very challenged day in and day out with gains and losses almost weekly. It's a real test on problem solving, and my creative juices get to flow. It's my baby, and one that I'm quite intrigued to see how it grows.

Flowing into the second, I did the whole unfulfilling day job thing for a handful of years in my 20's, and realized it just wasn't for me. However, I will say I learned a lot of valuable knowledge that has helped shape my brain positively, and I'm able to drop said knowledge quite often to help others out. These skills also recently helped me land a day job at a local non-profit that helps severely disturbed kids transform. Here I get to use my Marketing skills to raise awareness. Um, awesome.

I also went back to a menial retail job for a couple of months. It was odd, but I learned that I am able to work in almost any environment to help my dreams come true. Plus it was around thrift clothes, so I couldn't of asked for a better gig with cooler people.

I started a side consulting business where I help people struggling with a major lack in style, confidence, and or motivation to try in the dating world. I've already begun helping people and it couldn't be more fun and rewarding. Why I didn't decide to do this sooner, I have no idea.

I've become totally confident when networking. This was actually a huge milestone for me, since I held myself back from all sorts of activities and events because I was too afraid to place myself in a room of people I didn't know. Upon deciding to pursue my dreams as entrepreneur I realized I couldn't be afraid anymore and just had to embrace it. I then realized I enjoy it because I meet awesome people and can hustle, strategize, connect, and build in my local community.

I quit drinking. This one was rather difficult to do initially, and now I don't even miss it. It's a part of my life that just doesn't exist anymore, and I couldn't be more relieved. Drinking just caused me to have all sorts of bodily reactions I didn't like, and attracted me to toxic people. I still like to go out and be social, but I don't need the social lube to do it.

I cut a whole bunch of foods out of my diet including gluten products and chicken. A few of the foods I've tried again after not eating for a year, and I feel ok. Others totally gross me out, so I will steer clear. I used to be a total foodie, but now I have to pick and choose what I eat. It's kind of annoying at times, but not as hard as it seems. I also feel great!

I am now single. This was not a change I thought would happen this year, but it did. There comes a time when you realize you have to do what is right for you, so that you (and any potential partner) can truly value your importance on this planet. It's been a positive decision because I've also come to realize I just need to "do me" for awhile - which feels really good.

I see these all as being positive changes, for the most part - breaking up has been a bit rough, because I still need time to reflect and process the situation. But moving into my next chapter, I can say I've done a bunch of cool stuff in the last year especially to help shape my new milestone positively. How rad is that? Just a visionary diva making shit happen, what can I say?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sitting Shiva: My Version.

This year has been a multitude of endings and beginnings. Relatively speaking they have all seemed pretty challenging, even the beginnings. However, all this seems trivial in comparison to the news of my dear grandma passing this morning. I did somewhat see it coming being that I was with her the week leading up to the news, and her mind was in a great deal of pain and uncomfortableness, although her body was strong. Just like her, a trooper. Besides this past week though, I didn't see it coming. I at least conveniently denied it would happen. Even in the past few days, I half expected I would see her at our yearly Thanksgiving reunion. Just like when Grandpa passed and wasn't at our Thanksgivings anymore, it was a great loss. Grandparents are extremely important. If they are the good kind, they are there to love and support you. I'm happy I had that with all four of my grandparents, even though they are all gone now. I know they loved me, and that counts for a lot.

My grandma Temme was a strong women who was very talented. She was an actress and was in countless plays in her lifetime, as well as a tv movie. She was the beauty queen of her college, and taught me the ways of dress up and makeup application at a young age. She clearly loved theater, and made a point to introduce me to Broadway musicals on the New York stage. She also introduced me to my first opera. She would have the family act out various scenes at our yearly holiday celebrations. Some are hard to recall now, but "Hats" is hard to forget. She used to sing us songs that will forever be ingrained in my brain, some a little weirder than others like, "with her head tucked". My dad performed this song to her in an attempt to have her remember last week in her incoherent state. I don't know if she did, but she did stare at him as to say that he was the one who had lost his mind. I'm sure seeing her that way could have that type of effect on a son. 

My grandma was one of the people I've consistently seen almost every single year since birth, at least that's how I remember it. My family also lived with her in Long Branch, NJ when I was still in diapers. I even took my first steps at her house. She has always been an important part of my life. Being that we are both strong willed women with birthdays days apart, we did butt heads on and off. But in the last 15 years I let that go and learned to accept her for who she was - an independent, brave, kind, loyal, loving, nurturing, talented, helpful, intelligent woman. 

She would have me visit her at her various homes by the water and I would lay out and sip egg white sodas. I recall each of her homes having the same smell, which was a mixture of something comforting and delicious food. She always made a point to rave about me to every single person that came our way. She was so proud of me and proud to have me in her life as her first granddaughter. Even though I was a rebellious drama queen in my younger years, I was secretly very proud of her too. She was a grandma-fashionista. Every time I saw her, she made a point to wear interesting jewelry, beautiful woven shawls, and have her hair and nails done. I loved her sense of style and looked up at her in this way as well. She also had Toms shoes before they were cool - such a trendsetter. Even during my last visit, her hair was freshly cut in a cute style and her nails were painted red. A ring adorned her finger and a fashionable neck piece lay on her chest connecting her to her hearing aids. She was a diva right up until the end.

One of my most meaningful memories is of our trip to Israel when I was 15. It was an experience I'll never forget. She made a point to help me connect with my Jewish roots, and I appreciated that greatly. My grandpa (her ex-husband) happened to pass away while I was there with her in Jerusalem, which was quite symbolic. 

She also greatly admired my Dad of course being that he is a classic "momma's boy". But even though, she would make sure to ask about my Mom every time I saw her. She made a point to show me that she still cared about her even though they parted ways many years back. She also gave really good advice. She would have the perfect piece of wisdom to share about the boys in my life, work, school, and family. She was a very intelligent woman and was always up on the news. She was politically driven and could compete in heated debates. 

She was a super Jewish New Jersey bargain shopping Yiddish speaking grandma. She made the best pot roast in the world, and let me eat sugary cereals that my Dad would cringe at the site of. She was the type of grandma that would ask me repeatedly if I was full and if she could get me anything else to eat. She lived to serve those closest to her. Whether it be through food, gifts and/or chotchkies from all of the countries she traveled too, or her offer to help in any way she could in each in every conversation she had with me. Each time I saw her, a big smile would spread across her face and I could instantly see how happy she was to see me. Each phone conversation I had with her made me feel loved, especially in the more recent years. She is the one person that I can honestly say was always happy to hear from me. I'm sure my parents are too, but I could ALWAYS tell with my grandma. I honestly don't know if I will ever have another person like that in my life. I will greatly miss our calls, knowing I could pick up the phone and at least hear the joy in her voice to hear from me, or hearing from her and the joy in her voice to place that call, as well as my joy in receiving it from her. All of our phone conversations would end with "I love you Meeses to Pieces." In the more recent years when she started to become forgetful, she would tell me this over and over and over, but I found it to be sweet. I don't know if it was our special thing, but it felt like it. I will admit that during my trip last week when I heard she was saying it to everyone else I felt a bit jealous.  

 I will always remember my grandma. She was a force to be reckoned with. There will never be another person in my life that was quite like her. I deeply cherish my memories of her, and I'm so very grateful I was able to be with her and say a version of goodbye while she was barely stable during her last few days. Even though I wasn't with her physically when she passed, I hope some part of her knew I was there the week leading up to it. I know she registered it for at least a min, and held my hand on my last day. That is important to remember. I will admit I did feel angry last week watching her go through so much pain and having her not really know who I was. I was mad that that type of reality can be someone's end. But that anger quickly turned to tears the days following. I am also realizing she was greatly suffering and didn't want to end up that way, so I know she is moving on to a better place. 

I love you Grandma, you have and always will mean a lot to me. Rest in peace. xoxo.